10 August, 2015
Mini Zucchini MuffinsPosted in : baking, bread, food, foodie, funny, healthy, humor, recipe, story, Uncategorized on by : Jeanette Rueb
Yesterday, when I biked to my Poppa’s house, I noticed a little produce stand in front of a house around the block from my apartment. Their sign read “SQUASH, 60¢,” and I kid you not, these squash were all about the length of my forearm and about the same circumference as both of my fists put together, palm-to-palm (well, except for the two ugly stepsisters on the end of the row, which were about a quarter of the size of the rest of the squash).
After eating a can of beans for dinner, I decided some fresh produce would probably be a good idea. What can I say? I get lazy when I don’t have to feed the boyfriend. So, I saddled up and rode my bike about a mile down the street and back and picked up a zucchini. I was thrilled when I got there and saw that they had plastic bags, because, being the scatterbrain I am, I forgot to bring something to carry the monster back in.
During the entire ride back, I bickered with myself about what I wanted to do with the zucchini. My initial reaction was zucchini bread, but, well, remember those lemon cookies I made not too long ago? Yeah, I had to give most of those away so I didn’t eat them all because — guess who has a dangerously loud and greedy sweet tooth? That’s right, the currently-unsupervised scatterbrain with her own kitchen. Yeah, so, for the sake of my waistline, I figured bread probably wasn’t the best plan.
Okay, I figured, how about something baked? I could pan-fry the zucchini. Granted, if I pan-fried the whole thing, it would feed me for a week. My mind circled back to zucchini bread and I gave myself an internal glare that said “we’ve already been over this.” The sweet tooth spoke up:
“I know, I know, but consider this angle: healthy zucchini — not bread! — mini muffins. They’re small, you can give some away, and, if you make them healthy, you can just kind of disregard the calories, right? It’s win-win.”
This is why my sweet tooth and I have a love/hate relationship.
Well, I had twisted my own metaphorical arm and I had no choice but to give in (I mean, who can argue with that kind of plan, anyway?). I got home and started searching for recipes that would fit the bill.
The trickiest thing about healthy recipes is that they substitute things left and right, so hoping you have all the ingredients just by pure luck and chance is usually a (ha) recipe for failure. For some reason, though, I managed to beat the odds, this time. I had applesauce, molasses, and — obviously — a zucchini, so I suppose I should thank my sweet tooth for something (it’s no secret that I have an obsession with apple anything, and I occasionally eat a random spoonful of molasses; we all have our quirks…).
Since I’ll be making some (albeit, unhealthy) modifications to the über-healthy recipe I found, you can check out the original here, in all its nutritious glory. Mine is just modified to use more… normal ingredients. Like, sugar instead of erythritol, because I don’t like sweeteners whose names sound like they were stolen from a paleontologist’s notebook. Also because I don’t know where I could buy that and regular ol’ tooth-rotting sugar is just peachy by me. My teeth are already all covered in porcelain or whatever anyway (childhood was not a good time for my dental hygiene record; I ate candy like it was going out of style and avoided toothbrushes like the plague. I honestly don’t know how I still have teeth).
Aaaaaanyway… I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I have a lot of time on my hands tonight, but enough about me (for now). You’re here for the recipe. We should move on to the recipe.
Hokay. Now that I’m finally in the kitchen (actually I’m still on the couch… now I’m in the kitchen), it’s time to start making muffins! 😀
Here’s how it’s going to go:
1¾ cup flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (and guess who ran out of salt)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses (you can cut this if you want them a little less sweet)
1½ cups grated zucchini (I am nervous about this part)
6 tablespoons milk (if it looks dry)
If you want to make full-sized muffins, you’ll probably need to double the batch. I’m making “mufflettes,” so one batch should pretty much do the trick, here. Also, revisiting the lemon cookie recipe again, if you want to make this less healthy, the glaze from those cookies would probably taste great on these, minus the zest.
So, the technical part, now.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease your pan of choice. Second step: if you happen to be wearing pajama pants and grippy-bottom slippers, please don’t trip over your pant leg and die. I almost did that, so I guess I can add “tripping over pant leg” to my list of reasons why I fall down… right next to too much wine.
SO! Muffins! Yes.
Here’s the next order of business:
In a large bowl, stir together all the dry stuff: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt (if you’re not a mook who ran out of it), cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix them together until they’re all friends, then add the eggs, applesauce, vanilla extract, molasses, and zucchini shreds (hopefully sans finger pieces, unlike the lemon zest). Stir this until everything is just mixed together. Add the milk in and mix it all together just until the batter is uniformly mixed. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 11 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Okay, let me just say that, ever since the lemon zesting incident, I’ve been a bit leery of cheese graters. I decided to switch hands, this time, so the hand moving over the grater was my left hand instead of my right one (partly so I wouldn’t make the wound worse if I screwed up, mostly because my right arm always gets the workout). One cup of grated zucchini in and I’ve got a bit of a stiff neck. Maybe it’s the fact that I still have my towel on my head from my shower or maybe it’s because I’ve been grating this stupid piece of squash for TWENTY MINUTES. Either way, have fun with the grating bit. Watch your fingers, and, I guess, if you can have someone massaging your shoulders while you work, that’d be good (even if the stiff neck has nothing to do with the zucchini).
After grating ALL the zucchini I needed for this recipe, I’m pretty sure I have developed arthritis in my left index finger’s first knuckle. Other than the lack of cartilage, my hand seems to be no worse for wear. I don’t remember it being that laborious in the past, but then again, I was probably ten years old the last time I made zucchini bread.
Also, about the milk. I finished with the zucchini and the batter looked really moist as it was. I added one tablespoon of the milk and thought it looked like it was going to get too watery if I kept adding more, so I left it at one tablespoon (though I really probably needed zero tablespoons). It was easy enough to scoop the batter up in a tablespoon and pour it into the mufflette pan cups.
So, uh, after putting the first round into the pan, I’m looking back at the bowl and realizing that I have a lot of batter left… I didn’t do the math for this very well. I’m going to end up with a lot of mufflettes… Which means I am going to have to pawn them off on my mom and my cousin and probably my neighbors and the maintenance staff, too. They had better taste as good as the raw batter does, because otherwise, I’m going to have to let them get stale and practice my golf skills with them.
The first panful came out of the oven and looked fine… I had to guess on the baking time, because teeny tiny muffin seeds do NOT take 40 minutes to bake. 40 minutes in the oven would pretty much get me zucchini-flavored carbon. But, 11 minutes after popping them in the oven, just look at them!
I ended up with exactly four dozen (that’s 48, just to prove I can still do math) perfect little mufflettes. They weren’t super sweet, but still just sweet enough to satisfy that naggy little tooth of mine. They go wonderfully with cream cheese and/or honey, and they make a perfect anytime snack (including 1 a.m., which it is right now).
Enjoy! Let me know if you try the original recipe with all its fancy-schmancy healthy substitutes and how it turns out (especially compared to my hybrid version).